What I Did When the Lights Went Out in Louisville
I’ve noticed I have not been on my soap box for the past several days. No, I have not gone on vacation and taken advantage of the dog days of summer. When you are taking care of semi-invalid parents-in-law who are pushing 90, vacations are about as common as Holstein cattle singing arias at the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Instead, I got caught up on housework after we lost our power for two days.
Lately, lengthy power outages in my hometown of Louisville have become as common as college basketball championships. In September 2008, the remnants of Hurricane Ike slammed the Ohio Valley, and we were in the dark for a week. Several months later, the worst ice storm in Kentucky’s history knocked out our electricity for four days. This blackout was life-threatening because temperatures after the storm hovered near zero. We had to risk life and limb just to get my parents-in-law to stay over to my parents’ house (they had electricity) for several days until the power company was gracious enough to restore our power just in time for us to watch the Super Bowl.
And just this past weekend, we were powerless once again when a violent 15-minute thunderstorm struck Louisville. Since we live in a neighborhood that is not a target for looters or gangbangers, we were virtually the last people in the Derby City to get our electricity restored.
Whenever we have blackouts, I become the grumpiest of grumpy middle-aged men. I was seething when my wife woke out of a sound sleep late Sunday night to have me start up our generator in order to keep our refrigerator operating. I felt the smart thing we should had done was just throw out our food to the vultures and crows, but I decided in the end to get the generator going because I had spent almost $200 in groceries minutes before the storm hit town. When my wife yelled, “We do not have enough gas for the generator!”, I nearly blew a gasket. I did not want to see her run off to a service station and run the risk of being sexually assaulted in the middle of the night just to get some gas.
I was also perturbed I was unable to get caught up on my reading because of the lack of electricity. At nighttime, I have an inexplicably uncontrollable urge to read. I do not care if it is the Great American Novel or the telephone book or a magazine article about calculus, I need something to look at before hitting the hay. However, unlike Abraham Lincoln, I do not think it is wonderful reading by candlelight. I do not even think it is great reading by flashlight because it reminds me of my younger years when I pored over lingerie ads after my parents were asleep. I need plenty of electric lights and lamps so that I can read adequately.
There was an ultimate fighting special on Sunday, and I was upset I did not get to see it. While I loathe so-called reality shows like Jersey Shore, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, and Big Brother, ultimate fighting is one non-scripted program I enjoy watching. Although ultimate fighting can be extremely gory, it is nevertheless exciting watching two men slug; wrestle; kick; karate chop and commit various other acts of unspeakable mayhem in a steel cage. Unlike boxing, ultimate fighters (even the “ham and eggers”) almost always put on a good show. And unlike roller derby and wrestling, ultimate fighting does not degenerate into Three Stooges-like slapstick brawls. Rather, it is a legalized form of a rumble.
I certainly was not pleased we were unable to use our dishwasher, and washer and dryer. Call me crazy, but I like to have an adequate supply of clean silverware and clothes.
But perhaps what made me most furious during my hometown’s latest blackout was that I was unable to work on An Ordinary Joe’s Soapbox. I consider my blog to be a labor of love. I enjoy putting down my thoughts on subjects I find interesting and publishing them in cyberspace. Not only that, I enjoy getting feedback from my faithful (or at least semi-faithful) readers.
I am glad our power has been restored. I guess I will never be a person who will willingly give up electricity like the Amish or the granola-munching, tree-hugging “back-to-nature” crowd. I love my air conditioners, computers, phones, DVD players, and lights too much to junk them.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
“Perhaps the greatest shock you get from electricity is when you get your monthly bill.”